Still is the central theme to the intellectual common ground of video art installations and performances by artists Granular Synthesis, Ryoji Ikeda and TeamLab. These pieces exemplify video as art in and above all, establishes the aesthetic paradigm while furnishing the conceptual. Still questions the concept of time and its structural quality when measured in hours, minutes and seconds, thereby an examination of the relationship between time and our perception of time. Still in its system and algorithmic manipulations is rational, and finds aesthetically production irrational, all in all closing the distance between ourselves, the artists and viewers to the sublime.
Modell 5, 1994-6 Kurt Hentschläger and Ulf Langheinrich / Granular Synthesis
“From a few expressions on the face of the performer Akemi Takeya to a frenzied exploration of the alter ego, any known context of meaning ends in the dissolved movements, is stalled in denaturalized redundancy, in machine pain. The semantic void is too loud to be amenable to meditative reception. The frontal images the rhythmic structures generate contradictory emotions and great strain. Entertainment is offered and almost violently denied. At the highest level of energy, enjoyment reaches the limit.”
Modell 5 is an audiovisual installation by the artist duo Granular Synthesis, channelling digitally processed image and sound to 4 video channels and 8 audio outputs. A multisensual perceptual experience is produced. In live performances of Modell 5, the audio interacts with visuals.
The pre-recorded video has Japanese performer Akemi Takeya broken down into grains through an analytical process, then reconstructed, and resembled in another frequency. Through this process of granular synthesis, image and sound are separated, blurred and perceived erratically like flickers.
This intervention into the audiovisual material by means of granular synthesis evokes violence and pain, as her voice and portrait are now being dissected. Her natural rhythm is eliminated and replaced by a mechanical rhythm. It is as if the organic human form has been mechanised and has her spirit trapped in a purgatorial state.
The digital editing level could be perceived as disruptive, because synchronicity has been removed, while simultaneously, one experiences then synchronicity between recombined image and sound. The cyborg’s reality is a distortion of space and time, and to the onlooking audience, we relate to her torment. A commendation to the creative decision in slipping in sub-bass, triggering physiological effect, heightening that sense of empathy.
Transfinite, 2011 Ryoji Ikeda
Background The Tranfinite by Ryoji Ikeda, a Japanese artist and electronic composer is large-scale digital installation. The installation bisects the space of the hall with pulsating patterns of real-time binary analysis of the Ryoji Ikeda’s soundtrack. It is a fully-immersive audio and visual experience.
In his album +/-, Ikeda describes his tone as “a high frequency sound that the listener becomes aware of only upon it disappearance”. While his rhythm exploits on beat patterns and noise, creating the semblance of a drum machine, the space involves a slowly evolving soundscape, with little or no sense of pulse. With minimal pulsation, audience are pulled into an abyss that signals the absence of time while enveloped in the darkness. In this alchemised experience which Ikeda describes as ‘the aesthetic experience of the sublime in mathematics’, we confront the vast magnitude of the universe. This project explores the transfinite that is quantitative and ordered, the intersection of beauty and the sublime, through music and math; black and white; 0s and 1s.
Universe of Water Particles, 2013 TeamLab
Background Universe of Water Particles is a waterfall created in a computer-simulated environment by TeamLab from Japan, a collective of artists, designers, animators, editors, programmers, mathematicians and architects.
Rock environment created in a computer space
Detail of rock sculpture
The waterfall simulation
1. A virtual rock is first sculpted and computer-generated water consisting of hundreds of thousands of water particles is then poured onto it. 2. The computer calculates the movement of these particles to produce an accurate waterfall simulation that flows in accordance to physical laws.
3. 0.1 percent of the particles are selected and lines are drawn in relation to them
4. the curvilinear motion depends on the overall interaction among the water particles and forms the magnificent cascade seen on screen.
5. Also, The waterfall is rendered at a resolution five times that of full HD to allow for the intricate and extreme detail of the work.
In traditional Japanese paintings of oceans, rivers, and bodies of water, they are expressed as curvilinear series of lines, giving the impression of life, as though water itself were a living creature.
So we question: What implications did the notion of Nature as a living creature as an integral part have on their perceptions of the world? TeamLab expresses their point of view that this work of art embodies an integration of the modern objective world and the subjective world of Japanese ancestors. To think of ancient Japanese understanding space and time, “we reasoned that while compiling visual information in their minds, they would have experienced time on a longer axis. Stemming from this idea, we created a time lag during the simulation of the particles that left an afterimage. Following which, we formed lines from the afterimages.”
When viewing the work, if is there is something within the lines from which
the audience feel a presence of life, then perhaps TeamLab’s proposition of the subjectivity is their Japanese ancestors is extant in our objective perceiving of the world today.
Also, in such immersion from viewership of the work, one does not feel a barrier between them and the waterfall. Nature is not just an object of our observation. The integral part of nature and its behaviour arose from Japanese ancestors ways of seeing i.e. rivers as living entities such modes of perception make it very easy to feel no boundary or separation from their environment
Through this approach to perception in work of art, the qualities from ancient Japanese times is transcendental to our modern world besides the intangible stillness of mind image from viewing the water. Also, physical manifestation of the experience from looking at
this waterfall in spite of the virtuality of it from a screen.
About Life 2.0 is a feature-length documentary recounts the lives of individuals and how their engagement in the third space alters their lives in real time for the better or worse.
Real and Second Life
Asri Falcone asserts that her avatar is not of a separate entity but her very self. In the film sequence, filmmaker Jason Spingarn-Koff consciously decides upon the juxtaposition of Asri Falcone’s successful entrepreneurship in virtual world, and obese black woman who chain-smokes and sleeps till late in the day.
Asri Falcone in Second Life.
Asri Falcone in Real Life.
Introduction of Asri Falcone evokes shock and disdain in view of her lifestyle and sense of self. It reminds of the notions of real and virtual life disparity in which Second Life offers this chance for escape. Undeniably it might have been an intention for gameplay, Life 2.0 offers a warm wrap for the depiction of Falcone, which serves as a reference for contemplation of the dilemma in virtuality and reality. Especially since Second Life is based upon realism of human, environment, and propagated interactions.
Falcone and Misty embracing in real space.
InFalcone’s relationship with Misty, a fellow playmate in Second Life sharing a dedication in their gameplay, they engage with each other in entertainment and many other bonding activities. It attributes both character’s moments of intimacy to their common ground established in third space.
Falcone pursued for justice in real court.
Asri Falcone’s entrepreneurial spirit was apparent. Her victorious case from the sue of copyright infringement from virtual assets validates beyond the study of identity and extends towards economy. Liken to Bitcoins*, Linden currency in Second Life is not only virtually exchanged but to state currency and vice versa.